03 September, 2008

Exploring the Dollar Store

Good deals and bad deals at Dollar Tree this week:

Junior Bear Honey Flavored Syrup. This is corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and a touch of honey for flavor and color. Note the clever packaging - a bear-shaped plastic bottle with a yellow cap, closely resembling the way some genuine honeys are sold in supermarkets. The honey pot picture on the label reinforces the similarities for the unwary shopper.

Bad deal.

Eden Garden Kosher Dills. Good flavor, nice and crunchy, high-quality pickles made with smallish cucumbers (kind of like "baby dills.") 24 ounces for $1.00 means these are half the price of supermarket Vlasic pickles. Check the label, though - Eden Garden dills are packed in India and imported to the US. (India is one of the largest exporters of pickled cucumbers and many American companies outsource their pickle production to them.)

Good deal.

Utz Snacks
- Just as fresh as the ones in the supermarket, with a huge variety of chip flavors and snack foods, Dollar Tree devotes an entire aisle just to Utz. Tags printed on the bags are all in the $1.59 to $1.79 range, so you always save at least 35% over standard supermarket or convenience store pricing. They only carry the 5-ounce size though, so that's the downside.

Good Deal.

Jams and Jellies - They look like generics, with their unfamiliar and sometimes no-nonsense labels, but take a close look at the ingredients and you'll be pleasantly surprised. Fruit, sugar, pectin, perhaps some citric acid (lemon juice) and that's it. No fillers, no cheap apple juice, and - most importantly for me - no high-fructose corn syrup.

The Danish Choice Mixed Fruit Preserves are a blend of a variety of summer berries and apples and is one of the best-tasting preserves I've ever had. The Furelli Strawberry Preserves are all strawberries with sugar and a touch of pectin, just like you'd make at home. Both of them are every bit the equal of any gourmet-shop jam you'd spend $4.00 or more to buy, except these are just one dollar each.

Very good deal.

Wyler's Light Singles To Go (8 count) - Both these and Hawaiian Punch singles were in the section; these are very convenient as well as delicious. In the supermarket you'd pay $2 to $3 for each 8-count box.

Good Deal.

Morton Coarse Kosher Salt, 1 pound
- In the supermarket, you can get a three-pound box of Morton Kosher salt or a four-pound box of Diamond Kosher salt for a little over $2.00 making this item a poor purchase. Similarly, a single-pound bag of sugar at Dollar Tree is almost twice as expensive as buying a generic five-pound bag of sugar at the supermarket.

Bad Deal.


Meg said...

I love this post. I always wonder about the food at the dollar store and what is actually a good deal!!! I find that they often have some interesting candy choices.

buttonwillowsix said...

That "Honey" bear is insidious. This past weekend I was looking at some corn syrup at my in-laws house. Even the supposedly plain-old corn syrup one would use for making candy contains high-fructose corn syrup!

Michele said...

I can't keep myself out of the Dollar Tree! We call it the $40 store, because I spend that much every time that I walk through the doors.

Chef E said...

I have thought about posting similar stuff, this is great. -E

Anonymous said...

great post, love how you noticed the honey, i always check the label... :)